Sunday, January 15, 2006

If You Believe in Love ...

Here is a really sweet story I wrote recently for the Oak Hill Gazette. Aren't they just so cute?:

Newlyweds at 83
By Caroline A. Shearer

Love is ageless - just ask Vera Youngbloom and Larkin Miller, 83-year-old lovebirds and newlyweds who met while playing dominoes at a community center and, seven months later, were married.
“I asked him, ‘Why did you choose me? You had 20 other women you could have chosen,’and he said, ‘You were the only one walking without a cane.’”
The courtship began after Youngbloom took Miller out to lunch for fixing her edger. Miller then invited her to a second lunch, this time arriving
with a dozen long stem red roses. “I’m thinking, ‘Uh oh! Is he trying to go somewhere?’ I hadn’t been out with a man, around one. It was different, it was scary - it was harder than when I was young and went out with men.”
And it wasn’t all that easy for Miller, either. “Let’s face it - I have not been in the business of escorting an unmarried lady out in 58 years,” said Miller. “You know, things change. We just explained to each other that that was the category we were in and went from there.”
The way Youngbloom describes it from there is “we just kept going to lunch, and then we ended up getting married on November 13.” Of course, there was a little more to it.
Miller, whose wife of 58 years died a year ago, “was in deep depression, and I was having real problems working out of depression. One of the things is you have to keep busy and keep going and meet people, and that was why I was so involved with the senior activity center.”
Although he was the only man among many women spending time at the center, Miller picked Youngbloom out quickly as someone he felt was compatible with him. “As we became closer associated with each other, in our relationship and friendship and companionship, we discovered we had a lot of things in common. We appreciate the same type of music, the same type of activities and those sorts of things. We appreciated each other’s company and companionship, and that is what led us to marriage.”
Youngbloom, who also is widowed, took some convincing, however. “Through this courtship, I was having doubts, and I was undecided so one day I made up my mind - I’m either going to do it or I’m not. I decided I had been lonely and didn’t realize it. I had been involved in charity and volunteer things, but it’s not the same - it’s so nice to have a man around the house. He’s a fixer upper - he can fix pretty much anything.”
Because Youngbloom and Miller had been married most of their lives, they also had families to consider before taking the big leap. “We wanted to make sure that I was going to be accepted by her family and she was going to be accepted by mine,” said Miller. After some initial surprise, “Everybody knows everybody, and everybody is happy for us,” said Youngbloom.
Then, there was a $3,000 prenuptial agreement and a $41 marriage license. Youngbloom said the license “didn’t cost but maybe $2” the last time they married. “After we paid for our prenup, we joked, ‘Are we going to have enough money to pay for our marriage license?’ We’ve had a lot of laughs!”
The happy couple celebrated their marriage with a Western Caribbean honeymoon cruise. Word of the couple in young love spread quickly, and “They thought it was a fun thing,” said Miller. “Believe it or not, I introduced her as my wife and said we just got married, and a lot of people said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding!’ You have to emphasize that it’s really true.”
On the seven-day cruise, they attended shows and formal dinners and “enjoyed visiting with the people we met.” Plus, Miller said, “We had a balcony. We could sit out on the balcony and hold hands and watch the waves go by.
Now settling in to married life, Youngbloom said, “When you are married to someone else a long time it’s a hard step to change in to another life. I think it takes a lot of courage at that age to get married. I never thought I would get married again - I thought my life was just settled the way it was. It was such a drastic change, but I am very happy.”
Miller said, “We just enjoy each other every day and thank the good Lord every day for having us meet. It’s great.”
“We don’t know how long God is going to give us, but we are going to spend it together,” said Youngbloom. “We thank Him every day for our health, that we are able to do what we can do, that we are able to get married. We don’t have time to sit down and count our aches and pains - we just keep on going. At our age, we’ve got to hurry up. We’re not going to be around much longer so we’re in a hurry.”
She said, “We were old enough to know better so we are making it work well. I’m very happy. We are very happy. I wouldn’t change it for anything, and I am very much in love with my husband - and it’s very hard to say ‘my husband’ - but I’m learning.” Youngbloom admits, “I wasn’t looking for it. I’m very happy that I found love at my age. It’s wonderful to be with someone and not be alone. I have some friends who say, ‘Why don’t you find me one?’ And I say, ‘Don’t look. It just happens.’ I’m happy that it happened.”
As far as 83 years is concerned, “I don’t think that’s too old at all,” said Miller. “You’re never too old - go for it! If you feel good, and it feels right and you love each other, go for it.


El Jefe Maximo said...

Twelve roses at lunch no. 2: he didn't waste time !

Candidly Caroline said...

Really, Jefe!
A guy *should* bring something to the first date if he wants to make a really nice impression!

Of course, these two probably didn't want to settle in for a long and leisurely courtship, either!

justcarl said...

Do you think a package of Keebler Scooby-Doo cookies would make a good first impression? ;-)

El Jefe Maximo said...

I'm interested to hear you say that...back in my own dating days, roses early in the dating process, and similar such little presents never worked out too well.

I attributed this, in part, to such gestures looking like a move from weakness, so to speak, in that it made me look too eager to get something going. On second thought, I suspect it had more to do with target selection, in that perhaps I was wasting efforts on persons unlikely to be that interested anyway.

I think that, in general, I enjoy women (I have a number of female friends), I always liked flirting, liked having relationships, and have liked being married. I like buying gifts, and even like sending flowers, (wife thinks they're extravagant though)...but I HATED dating.

Glad things worked out for this guy.

As for Keebler Scooby-Doo's -- no, dude, you gotta go all out. Nothing but Oreo Double Stuf's !

Candidly Caroline said...

Oddly enough, yes. Anyone who has known me for a long time knows I am a huge Scooby Doo fan! I have quite a collection of Scooby Doo cartoons and movies.
For other women, though, maybe not so much so. ;)

Candidly Caroline said...

I figure if you're going to go for something, you might as well go all out! Of course, this is very easy for me to say --- from the other side of the fence. :P

Dates themselves are enjoyable and fun, but the dating process as a whole could be deemed cruel and unusual punishment. Trust me, though, as much consternation as you felt during dating, there were women out there feeling the same way.

The Double Stuf's, though - that's pulling out all the stops! She'll know you passed up the regular Oreos and said, "Nope. Nothing but the BEST for my date." ;)

justcarl said...

Actually, Lady Caroline, I mentioned the Scooby-Doo cookies on purpose, as you well know. To be honest, for the last first date I had, I gave her my own homemade fudge made with pecans. I happen to think something like that is better than grabbing an item off the store shelf, but that's just my opinion. I'm certainly no expert in these matters!

PS. I have both types of cookies in my pantry as we speak. Believe it or not! ;-)

mary said...

Unlike most, I would be attracted to a man WITH a cane...